By NBF News

A suicide car bombing at a military base in the southern Russian region of Dagestan has killed five soldiers and wounded about 40 others.

The bomber smashed a car laden with explosives through the gate of a camp near Buynaksk, an interior ministry spokesman said.

The attack took place at 0100 local time (2100 GMT on Saturday).

Shootings and bombings have become frequent in Dagestan, which is battling a growing Islamist insurgency.

Earlier, Dagestan's minister for national, religious and foreign affairs, Bekmurza Bekmurzayev, was wounded in a car bombing in the region's capital, Makhachkala, along with two bodyguards. His driver was killed.

Dagestan is in the North Caucasus, which has long suffered Islamist and separatist violence. Violence has recently spread from Chechnya to neighbouring republics.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that ending acute poverty in the region is vital for restoring stability.